There were awkward moments. Like when we were just starting the morning and an educator whispered to me, “This is out of my comfort zone.” Things that are new and different from our regular experience can be uncomfortable. This is true. There were also amazing moments. The dialogue was rich, diverse, challenging and informative. Teachers described heir journey. They spoke about their practice and how it was changing. People shared their challenges, the struggles and joys of teaching, and their hopes for their students. And people connected to the stories and to each other because it is about the relationships.
Last month our district organized our second-ever EdCamp Unconference. We invited teams from forty of our Innovative Learning Designs (Phase 2) schools. About 150 attended and when I asked at the start of the morning how many had ever attended an EdCamp, only four people (one of which was me), put up their hand. EdCamp is referred to as an “unconference.” It is a structure for “promoting organic, participant–driven professional development.” (See here). You can find out more about it on Wikipedia.
I think this video captures some of the spirit of the day:
For me what was powerful were the words of Catherine Berron, Principal of Riverdale Elementary, when she said, “And what I really liked was the fact that people felt comfortable enough to share where they were at in the journey. There was a certain level of trust and I think it tells a lot about who we are in the district that we can have that conversation.”
Let’s keep the conversation going.
Special thanks to Helping Teachers Kevin Amboe, Orwell Kowalyshyn, Ross Powell, Sarah Guilmant-Smith and Iain Fischer for their work in organizing the event. Thank you to Paul Langereis for putting together the movie for us.